American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center

American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center

Three California Writers [a machine-readable transcription]

Three California Writers

Edited by Cindy Beck

Table of Contents

Three California Writers

Edited by Cindy Beck

Three California Writers Introduction

The early twentieth century was a period of reform in Native American affairs, in California as well as the rest of the nation. In general, reformers had three main objectives, allotting tribal lands, assimilating Native Americans into the general population, and providing an educational system that would hasten and realize assimilation. By the 1920s, a new generation of reformers questioned the methods and goals of their earlier counterparts; especially, they were concerned about the destruction of tribal cultures, the usurpation of tribal lands, and the obliteration of tribal sovereignty that government policy was rapidly bringing about.

One of the organizations established to monitor federal policy and initiate change was the Indian Board of Co-Operation (IBC), established at Round Valley, California, in 1912. The IBC was an umbrella organization of some sixty "auxiliaries" with about nine thousand members scattered throughout the state and surrounding areas. Membership comprised both Natives and non-Natives who were interested in encouraging Indians to work for their rights under both state and federal law. Specifically, the IBC sought to create cooperation among the various tribes and bands, to obtain legislation to help admit their claims to the U. S. Court of Claims, to acquire competent legal representation, to secure the place of Indian children in the public schools, to insure that any government appropriations were used by Indians and not bureaucracies or grafters, and to secure the general welfare of the Native peoples of the region. By the early 1920s, the IBC had brought about new public schools for Indian children, admission of Natives to existing public schools, gained admission to health care facilities, obtained help for indigents, and brought the suited that ended in the California Supreme Court's decision that non-reservation Indians were citizens (Anderson v. Mathews, 1917). The Indian Board of Co-Operation published the California Indian Herald, which contained organization news as well as editorials and news on national events that touched upon Indian affairs. It also published creative works by Native writers.

Another reform organization from California was the Mission Indian Federation. During the 1920s, the federation sought to secure rights and benefits for the Indians through legislation and to protect Native Americans from unjust laws and regulations. The Mission Indian Federation published The Indian, a magazine that contained organization news as well as creative works by Native writers.

Two of the three writers were affiliated with these two organizations and wrote extensively for their publications. The writing of all three California Indians reflect ideas shared by their peers and give us a rare glimpse of a special time and place in American history.

Alfred C. Gillis

Alfred C. Gillis belonged to the Wintun tribe of Heroult, Shasta County, California. He was an active member of the Indian Board of Co-operation and served on its Advisory Board. He also chaired the local auxiliary of that organization. Gillis frequently toured the California area with Edward Wharton James, editor of the California Indian Herald, to promote Indian rights. Often on these tours, Gillis would entertain audiences with his singing of traditional Indian songs.


California Indian Herald, January, 1923, p. 3; April 23, p. 5; and June 1924, p. 3, 15.

Note: The spelling of "Wintun" varies, even within Gillis's writing.


Sleep, my little one, sleep away!
Above thee watching angels stray,
No harm can come to thee by day,
Sleep, my little one, sleep away!

Out of the heav'nly pools of space,
The stars look down upon thy face;
Child of beauty, charm and grace,
Sleep, my little one, sleep away!

Upon thy brow the pale moonlight,
Steals its kisses with delight,
No harm can come to thee by night,
Sleep, my little one, sleep away!

Soon the morn will dawn for thee,
Brighter days and joys to see;
Love's young dream will come to thee,
Sleep, my little one, sleep away!

Growing on from day to day,
Leaving childhood far away;
On to manhood's fuller day,
Sleep, my little one, sleep away!
Soon the birds will call to thee,
And thou, too, shall mated be;
Where the wild rose blooms for thee --
Sleep, my little one, sleep away!


Fragrant, perfumed, rich and rare,
Wondrous sweet beyond compare,
I fain would pluck thee from thy stem,
O, thou priceless mountain gem.

When I beheld thee smiling there,
Filled with perfume was the air,
Borne on the night wind o'er the glade,
Where Shasta1 casts her mighty shade.
There blooms no fairer, sweeter flower
In all wild Nature's wondrous bower.
I fain would pluck thee from thy stem,
O, thou priceless mountain gem.

*Original note -- A much admired flower by the early Wintoone. It grows in the high regions of the Sierras, in the environs of Mount Shasta. The Shasta Lily is also found in high altitudes of the Sierras. When President Harding passed through Dunsmuir he was presented by the citizens with a special bouquet of Shasta Lilies.

1. Mt. Shasta is the second highest volcano in the United States and a major peak of the Cascade range, a volcanic region which extends from British Columbia to northern California's Mt. Lassen.


Here by these Indian rivers,*
Far from the white man's tread,
Kind hands have secretly laid them,
And they sleep the sleep of the dead.

Here the winding trails go by,
The ancient Indian mound,
Where a thousand Wintoon warriors lie
Wrapped in sleep profound.
Here Nature grows her wild bouquets,
And mountain lilies love to bloom,
And soft winds whisper through the pines,
In dirges o'er their mountain tomb.

*Original note -- The Sacramento and McCloud Rivers

1. The early Wintun Indians occupied a large area that included most of the Sacramento Valley west of the Sacramento River. The Wintun Indians were the largest tribe in terms of population and territory in northern California.


God pity us all, for our hands are red,
With the wars we've made, the blood we've shed,
As we battle to death, for greed and gain,
Red are our hands, with the thousands slain.
Redeem us from our wild passion's flame,
The consuming fire of our hate and shame.
And lead us from the blood-stained way,
O, teach our hardened hearts to pray,
The Angels of God, o'er a world proclaim,
"Peace on earth, good will to men."


Far to the west where the Klamath rolls,
In my sunny youth I chanced to stroll;
A maiden fair, with flowing hair
And wondrous eyes beyond compare,
Stood by that river rolling free
And cast a loving glance on me.

Softly the wavelets kissed the strand
As it silently washed its golden sand,
While near and far the bird of love
Sang sweet and low, the turtle dove.
O, wondrous was that night in June,
We loved beneath the summer moon.

Sweet were the promises we made,
Like dreams of youth too soon to fade.
Too soon! Too soon! Our ways did part,
And O, the anguish of the heart.
Tho years have sped I can't forget
That sweet girl face, I see it yet.
Those days are gone, yea, turned to years
And broken now my heart with tears,
I still look back across the way,
That long gone youthful summer day.
Too soon! Too soon! Our youth is fled,
O, what is life when love is dead?

1. The Klamath River is the largest of the North Coast rivers of California stretching over 200 miles from its mouth to the Oregon border. Its mouth is located 60 miles north of Eureka and 20 miles south of Crescent City.


Flow on, O winding river, flow,
Through the canyon deep below.
Where the willows bend and lean
In graceful beauty to the stream,
And thy soft sweet waters flow
To the sunny vale below,
Where the grasses fringe thy side
And whisper softly to thy tide.

I love to watch thy waters sweep
In majestic beauty to the deep;
To hear thy soft and gentle song
As thy waters steal along.
From the mountains crowned with snow,
She cuts her rocky way below,
While from her banks the stately pine
Bravely guards the stream divine.

Here the wild deer come to drink
On the green and grassy brink,
And the tall firs bend and lean
And cast their shadows on the stream.
The canoe long has left thy shore,
Left thy tide for evermore,
Where once in stillness it did glide
On thy deep and moving tide.
Onward through the valley free,
Surging toward the singing sea,
Whispering softly to the strand,
Rolling o'er its golden sand.
Alas, the bay, extended wide,
Anxious to embrace thy tide,
Where at last, thy waters lost,
On the ocean to be tossed.

1. The Sacramento River is the longest river of Calif., c. 380 miles long, rising near Mt. Shasta in northern California, and flowing generally southwest to Suisun Bay, an arm of San Francisco Bay, where it forms a large delta with the San Joaquin River. Its chief tributaries are the Pit, Feather, McCloud, and American rivers.


Once again my footsteps stray
Where the mountain waters play,
I hear again the river's roar
That breaks upon its rocky shore.

Through silent canyons wild and deep,
Its raging waters plunge and sleep,
Above the ancient mountains rise,
And point their columns to the skies.

O, land where lilies bloom and fade,
The spotted lilies in the glade,
Here water ferns in beauty grow,
Green mosses in the melting snow.

Of all fair rivers I have known,
No fairer waters than thine own.
O, topy mame,* we love thy name,
Famous waters Wenem Mame.*

On thy banks what combat raged,
What duels, what brave acts were staged,
Here ancient tribes in battle stood
In yon fair glade by yonder wood.

Here Modoc [1] and the Wintoons fell,
Their spears lie broken in the dell,
Here arrow heads lie broken round
In scattered heaps upon the ground.

Here, too, the warlike Shastas [2] came
To test the Wintoons Warrior's claim,
And looked with eager longing eyes,
Ye, fought to win their long sought prize.

Their strong yew bows were sinews strung
And loaded well their quivers hung,
And close within their long black hair,
A long bone knife lay hidden there.

Elk hide cloaks each warrior wore,
And fought and bled upon thy shore,
In mortal combat, fierce and fast,
Till crimson ran thy tide at last.

All is over now and done,
Peaceful now thy waters run,
Side by side the warriors sleep,
In thy canyon wild and deep.

Above eternal Shasta's [*] snow
Gazes o'er the scene below,
And west the Yolla Bulley's [*] keep
Virgil o'er thier slumber deep.

And Saun-chu-luli [*] wild and high
Where the shawmn's trail went by
Hears no more the wild war song
Floating on the breeze along.

Here Indian youth and maiden strayed
And nature's children laughing played
And near you tall piney wood,
Once the War Chief's village stood.

Where chants from a thousand throats
Rose unto Heaven in sweetest notes,
Here Norail-poot-as [*] lived and died
And now lies sleeping by thy tide.
O, white man, take the land of ours,
Guard well its hills, streams and bowers,
Guard well the Mounds where Wintoons sleep,
Guard well these canyons wild and deep.

* - Original Notes:

The McCloud was known to all surrounding tribes and Topy Mame, meaning the valuable and coveted river.

Wenem Mame: Middle River. Wintoon's name for the McCloud River.

(Mount Shasta) Sacred mountain of the Wintoons.

(Yolla Bulley) Snow mountain. A sacred mountain.

Black Rock Mountain, in Trinity County. A sacred mountain.

South Indian Summer. The last great Chief of the Wintoons.

1. The Modoc were Native North Americans who lived in SW Oregon and N California, particularly around Modoc Lake (also known as Lower Klamath Lake) and Tule Lake.

2. There were four original Shasta Indian tribes living in Northern California and Southern Oregon. The land of the Shastas ranged generally from Mount Shasta north to the Rogue River, and from Happy Camp and the middle of the Applegate Valley east to Mount McLoughlin.

THE BIRD WITH THE WOUNDED WING -- A Wintune Indian Legend Put Into Verse

High in the hills in the drifted snow,
On an Indian trail in the long ago,
A lovely bird that had missed its way,
Down in the snow exhausted lay.
Far from the North it had winged its way
To the snowy vales that Southward lay.
Spent and weary, with injured wing,
It fell to earth, a helpless thing.
A Wintune trod that lonely way,
And saw the bird that wounded lay.
With tenderness his heart was filled,
He warmed the bird the cold had chilled,
And placed it in his warm black hair.
In calm content it nestled there.

On Saunchululi [*] wild and high,
Near where the rugged trail goes by.
Where leaps the dashing Trinity
In scenes of great sublimity,
He sat and gently bathed that wing
Until, relieved, the bird did sing.
It sang and sang its sweetest lay.
Then, in the darkness, flew away.
But never sweeter song was heard
Than was caroled by that grateful bird.

The years passed on, yea, rolled away,
Helpless, alone, the Indian lay.
A bird flew in his wigwam door,
And sang and sang as ne'er before,
Yes, sweetly sang as if to say,
A debt of love I come to pay.
The aged Indian raised his head,
And to the bird he softly said:
"O Messenger of good to me,
The Spirit Great now speaks through thee.
O sing again-my heart is sad,
O sing again-and make me glad.
Relieve me of my aches and pains
Restore me unto health again."

As though he understood each word,
Such song ne'er came from throat of bird,
He sang as though his song should say,
I've come my precious debt to pay.
He sang away the Indian's pain,
And brought new life and health again.
This is the tale the Shaman [1] told.
This is the tale the mountain told.
This treasure in these words I find,
The greatest good is to be kind.

*Original Note - Saunchululi-"black rock mountain," a sacred mountain in Trinity County.

1. A shaman is a spiritual leader


The Awakening

The awakening of the Indians of California to the tremendous task of solving the many problems that confront them as a people is noticeably remarkable.

Since their organization into auxiliaries to the Indian Board of Co-operation by F. G. Collett three years ago, their progress has been very rapid.

Early Writers and Their Propaganda

Early writers were wont to speak of these people as being of low order. They were spoken of as "Digger Indians" [1] who were content to feed upon jack rabbits and grasshoppers, too timid to attack larger game as were the Indians of the plains and the Atlantic seaboard, and various other misleading statements. However, the truth of the matter is quite to the contrary. The mountain tribes of California were the equals as hunters and warriors to any of the Indians of the continent. They were considered inferior to the eastern Indian because in their conflict with the white man, they lacked the modern rifle which the Indians of the East used so effectively in their war with the white man. The Sioux, Blackfeet and Apaches were in possession of firearms and were able to make a stubborn resistance against both the soldiers and the settlers in defense of their home and land. This, however, was not the case in California owning to the fact that very early a law was placed on the Statute Book of California forbidding the sale of guns or ammunition to an Indian.

The influx of settlers because of the discovery of gold in California was much more sudden than in any other state of the Union; that is, the migration was not gradual as in other states. Guns had been traded to the Eastern and Northern Indians but had not yet been introduced among the Indians in California. Therefore when the sudden influx of the white man came, the Indians found themselves helpless before an adventurous and intelligent people, equipped with superior weapons, bent on completely destroying them. And what were "feather flints" to modern firearms? The Indian was in possession of the land and the white man wanted it. The question of justice in the matter did not enter into their mind. They just took possession of the land and drove the Indian off.

Hunters and Warriors.

The California Indians were among the mightiest hunters of the continent. To trail and kill a bear in a hand-to-hand combat was the test of the courage of a man. They hunted and killed the most ferocious animals in North America with bow and spear. True, they were the grizzly bear hunters and to say they were too timid to attack larger games is an absolute and false perversion of the truth.

As warriors, the Modoc, Shastas, Hoopas, Wintoons, the Yanas of the Lassen Butte region and the Piutes of Inyo County are noble and splendid examples.

Their Art Unexcelled.

The California Indians are noted for the excellent work in basketry. The baskets of the Pomos of Lake County are unexcelled anywhere in the world. The Pomos are artists of the highest order. Their products have found their way into the homes of the most cultured in the world.

Dances and Legends.

It is doubtful if a more artistic or more graceful dance is found anywhere, than the "Big Head" dance of the Wintoons. It has often been said that the California Indian has no costume. This is another false statement. The Big Head dancer's costume I have never seen equaled anywhere, and I have witnessed a great many Indian dances.

The McCloud Indian legend of the great temple in the Pleiades [,2] perfectly translated by Jeremiah Curtain in his "Primitive Myths of North America," is one of the most beautiful legends I have ever read.

Early History Misleading.

How could the early white man write the true history of these people? Who can blame them for their errors? They knew little if anything of their traditions, language, the meaning of their dances, the meaning of their songs to the Great Spirit, their Philosophy, or their ideas of life and death. The early people of California sought to justify their acts of cruelty and wrong-doing by debasing the California Indian by a widespread and malicious propaganda, some of which still remains upon the sullen pages of history to this day.

"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again.

The eternal years of God are hers." [3]

A new day is dawning for the Indians. People no longer take for granted what has been written but pause to ask, is it true? Even in this wicked world, a lie cannot live. To the ash heap with this kind of history. This propaganda of falsehood should perish with its authors.

The Soul of the Indian.

There is an unquenchable fire born in the breast of the Indian, a love of race and splendid heroism that all the fiends of hell cannot drown. There are no true, no nobler people than the Indian. I have seen them live and die and starve in the silent canyons of California rather than leave the shade of their ancestors. The mixed Indians are proud of their white blood, but too true and noble to forget the Indian mother that brought them into the world and nursed them in their childhood. The versatile character of the American Indian is such that he has stamped himself indelibly and forever upon this continent. The Indian was a hunter, a warrior, an inventor, a runner, an athlete of world-wide recognition.

Indian Citizenship.

The State Supreme Court of California in the case of Anderson vs. Mathews [4] decided that the California Indians are natural born citizens entitled to the same privileges as any one else. There are some people, we are sorry to say, that do not know of this important decision that so vitally affects the Indians of our state.

Not Asking Charity.

The California Indian has never asked the aid of the Government in the way of charity. Of all the Indians of America he has received the least aid from the Government. They only ask their day in court. Their privilege as a voter and citizen, to pay their taxes and attend the public school, for the purpose of obtaining the same education advantages as any other citizen of the state. However, there are thousands today in our public schools and a hundred or more in our High Schools and some in our colleges.

California Chooses Well.

California is a great and good state. She has chosen well. She is building within her own borders a stalwart Indian citizenship whose ancestry dates far back to time immemorial. That citizenship will never leave her, never desert her. In time of trouble they will always be found ready to serve the State and Nation thus live up to their worthy name of the "First Americans."

Leadership Developed.

An intelligent leadership has developed all over the state with a closer union of all the tribes. The solidarity of the California Indian is no longer a question. There are some people opposed to a money compensation for the Indians of California for narrow, childish and grossly selfish reasons.

The California Indians are only seeking justice. Not long ago, a cartoon appeared in the publication called "Judge." The Indian was pictured in a long flowing war bonnet riding a high powered automobile and beneath the cartoon were these words: "The only danger from the Indian." This does not justly apply to the Indian of California. They have no tribal fund at Washington to draw on, no surplus cash to squander. Some of them have automobiles of course, but they have been bought and paid for by hard honest labor.

Virile Character of the Indians.

Like their fathers that hewed their weapons from flint and bone and fought the grizzly bear, the California Indians are self-made men. They are among the most civilized of any Indians in America and are found today in all occupations and callings including the professions.

1. "Digger Indian" was a derisive term for the California tribes dating to the nineteenth century. It refers to the Native practice of harvesting edible roots.

2. The Pleiades star cluster is more commonly known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45. The cluster contains thousands of stars, of which only a handful are commonly visible to the unaided eye. For northern hemisphere viewers, the cluster is above and to the right of Orion the Hunter as one faces south.

3. Stanza 9, "The Battlefield," by William Cullen Bryant.

4. In Anderson v. Mathews (174. Cal., 537; 163 Pac., 905), the California Supreme Court established citizenship rights for non-reservation California Indians.


As told by Alfred C. Gillis, a Wintun Indian, and Recorded by George Wharton James [1]

The Wintun tribe of Indians was, for long centuries, the most powerful tribe of the northern part of California. The men were stalwart warriors, made so by their training and the fact that they were ever at war defending the generous and fruitful land that the gods had bestowed upon them. They occupied all the upper part of the Sacramento River, together with the Pitt, McCloud and a large part of Trinity Rivers, with the tributary country. It was a wonderful land, the rivers teeming with fish, and their banks the populous homes of beaver, mink, otter and other fur-bearing animals. On the hills were elk, deer, antelope and bear in abundance, as well as the smaller squirrel, rabbit and raccoon. The digger pine and the pinyon gave an abundance of delicious nuts, the white and black oaks yielded their rich harvests of acorns, the buckeyes gave their rich chestnuts, the meadows gave abundantly of nutritious grass seeds and fruits and berries abounded on the hillsides. In the swamps and marshes great bulbous roots were found which added to the food supply. It was a country of the yew, rarely found in California, and no wood was so suitable for making the bow of the warrior and hunter as this, and, as on the eastern slopes of Mt. Shasta vast ledges of native volcanic glass -- obsidian -- were found, it was comparatively easy to equip the Wintun warriors with bows and arrows that had no superiors and few equals in the land.

Possessing such a country as this it is no wonder the Wintuns were a proud and haughty people, ever boastful of their favored land and equally ready to defend it from those who would seize it from them. For, naturally, being so desirable to the Wintuns, it was coveted by all other near-by tribes. Many were the endeavors made to wrest it from the Wintuns, sometimes by a single warrior-chief and his people, and again by the combined efforts of several.

Among the many stories of these endeavors is that of Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta, A Pouiyail Yuki -- or eastern enemy as the name implies. Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta's father was a Yuki and his mother a Wintun. His home was under the bluffs on the flat on the Sacramento River just east of the present town of Redding. As he grew to manhood he became a great warrior and a much dreaded one. For to make himself and his people invincible in war he was monstrously cruel to those who were weaker than himself and were unable to withstand his brutal tyranny. As soon as he had fairly well established his power, he began the habit of making periodical raids on the camps located on the Sacramento River. From Kennett down he would seize every boy and girl of suitable age and bring them to his camp. He would also steal all the food, baskets, and blankets made from rabbit skins. This kept all the camps of the Dowpom Wintuns impoverished, and, having no sons to train for warriors, they were kept weak so that they could not oppose

Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta's plans.

In his own camp, which was known as Nolta Pou-i-dall, signifying an angular flat at a bend in a river, Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta would put the boys and girls he had captured throught a rigorous course of physical training, the boys that they might speedily become competent warriors and the latter that they might be fit mates for them.

For long years Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta looked with longing eyes upon the upper reaches of the Sacramento, and the Pitt and McCloud rivers. He lusted earnestly for their rich harvests of fish, game, seeds and fruit. Yet the Wintuns of this coveted country were strong and warlike. They had successfully resisted all endeavors, hitherto, to dispossess them, and Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta knew that it would require a large army of his finest and bravest fighters to win a foothold there. So he drilled and trained, disciplined and marched week after week, month after month, until his warriors were able to obey his harshest commands with ease. They took long marches and endured great hardships and overcame tremendous obstacles in order that in combat they might be invincible. Then to make assurance doubly sure, Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta made an alliance with the Pomquail Yukis, and, at an appointed time, marched northward, bound on his errand of conquest.

As he ascended the river and easily drove ahead of him the few small bands that were in his way, it was not long before the alarming runners and tell-tale watch-fires warned the Dowpom Wintuns that he was coming. Hastily they summoned all their warriors, even from the far-away Trinity River, and when the invaders reached the place where the McCloud River flows into the Pitt -- known, therefore, as Dowin-kil, "the meeting place of the rivers" -- They were ready to resist to the death their further progress. The main village of the Dowpom Wintuns was located at this place and many Indian houses, and the great ceremonial dance, and sweat-houses--called schloots--occupied the site.

The invaders came up the river on the other side and early in the morning began their attack by sending a fierce shower of arrows across the river into the village. This was done with the intent of forcing the Wintuns into shelter, so that the warriors of Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta might secretly swim across the river and thus stealthily gain possession of the place. Many scores thus crossed, but they were met by the deadly arrows of the Wintuns, who were very crafty. At the same time a band of the keenest and youngest of the McCloud River warriors cunningly planned and carried out a suprise attack.

See these brave and fierce defenders of their home as they prepare to circumvent their foes. After the orders are given and all fully understand what is to be done, not a word, a whisper is uttered. See them as they start off. A thousand or more of them. Each one is dressed in a long elk-hide cloak, with the right arm cut in half moon shape in such fashion as to have the warrior's arm exposed. Around the waist is a belt of dressed buckskin. Held upright in his long, thick, black hair which is tightly bound at the back of his head, is stuck and thus hidden, his weapon of close defense, a knife about six inches long, made from the shin-bone of an elk. Each carries his yew bow, with an otter-skin case full of arrows slung over his back. Silently they steal down to the river, and equally silently enter the water, holding bow, quiver and arrows up with one hand, yet deftly and swiftly swimming with the other. Soon they are all on the other side, and with silent speed are ascending the trail, through the forest. An hour or more passes and they are still moving rapidly in their warrior hop, but now, as they approach more nearly to where their enemies are -- whose shouts and yells can clearly be heard - they proceed more quietly and stealthily (were that possible) through with almost equal speed.

The enemy has been so occupied that there seems to have been no idea of pickets or sentries, so the Wintuns were able to line up in irregular formation directly on the ridge above where the archers were firing their arrows into the village across the river.

Then, with terrific yells, screams, screeching and howls that seemed enough to wake the dead, pulling their bows with fierce anger as they leaped forward, the advance was made. It was in reality a complete surprise, for, so quickly did they dash down the slope that the invaders were irresistibly swept into the river, where one by one they were either shot through and through with arrows, or smitten on the head with stones, stunned and thus drowned. A few of the more impetuous of the attackers seized the bodies of their enemies and fell with them into the river, where by stabbing or strangling they were soon overpowered.

This defeat was no sooner accomplished than the Wintuns again dashed into the river, swam across and with equally fierce impetuosity fell upon those of the Poouiyail Yukis who had succeeded in finding a landing on the other side. The conflict was too unequal, the surprise too complete, and in an incredibly short space of time there was not an enemy left on his feet. In accordance with their custom, every slain enemy was scalped, and each warrior looked among the dead in the hope of finding Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta's body there. But that crafty warrior was too careful of his own life to risk himself in too great danger. When the flank movement was executed, he succeeded, in the ensuing confusion, in making his escape.

Though they were very sorry he had eluded them, the Wintuns were too proud of their victory to stop their rejoicings. With loud songs of triumph, in which their women joined, they danced around the scalp-pole, and drank and feasted in their joy. After a long night thus spent it was decided by the leaders to call all the men, women, youth, and maidens from the supper reaches of the Little Sacramento, the Pitt, the McCloud and Trinity rivers and have a great dance of rejoicing in the tribal schloot located on the McCloud River. This dance-schloot was a building such as no white man believes the Indians were able to build. It had a tree trunk for its center pole, with seven lesser trunks for main supports -- thus representing the polar star and the seven stars of the constellation of the dipper [2]. It was circular and had a seat placed completely around its inner circumference. Over five hundred people could sit and dance conveniently in this great building at one time.

When the day of the great festival arrived the home women piled up great baskets full of acorn bread, roast and baked meats and other eatables; and nuts and roots and fruits were scattered around in reckless profusion. Near a score of fires a hundred baskets sent forth appetizing odors of delicious stews, and provision was made for everyone -- as no disgrace could have been greater than for them to fail in any of the duties of a generous hospitality.

And the crowds that came fully justified their expectations. All the valor and strength, and all the beauty and femininely [sic] desirable of the men and women and the youths and maidens of the tribe were present and each and all joined in the dances that were kept up continuously with enthusiasm and fervor.

When the dance was at its height a gorgeous personage appeared at the entrance way and proudly marched into the schloot. He was evidently a notable for he was clothed in the finest of garments and proudly wore on his breast the elaborately beaded mempoe, the sign of chieftainship.

It should be noted that there was a kind of runway or chute, leading to the main entrance and that, standing before this chute, were four men, all of who had suffered some wrong at the hands of Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta. They had vowed to be on the watch for him, and if he dared to appear, to kill him.

As soon, therefore, as this proud person arrived, the leader of the four whispered to the others: "There goes Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta!" "How do you know?" questioned the others. "Why, see his gorgeous clothes, and then notice the mempoc. He it is, sure enough. I know him well and there can be no mistake. Let us kill him."

But Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta had already passed on into the schloot and it was decided not to kill him there, but to wait until he came out. Then --

In the meantime, Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta had joined in the dance, which went on untiringly and continuously. Many made comment on his fine clothes and the wonderful mempoc he was wearing, but it was not considered proper to demand of him who he was, or require him to uncover his face, until the proper time came.

Towards morning, however, when all the dancers seemed to be tired, Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta stepped up to a youth, the most handsome, athletic and powerful of them all, a young man of some thirty years who was destined ere long to be the chief of the McCloud River Wintuns. He was full of life and fire with considerable wit and humor and yet had a strong and commanding face. He was beloved by this people and had not an enemy among them.

Taking him by the hand Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta said, "I understand you are the coming chief of the McCloud Wintuns." "I am," said the youth. "That is good," replied

Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta. "I should like to see you become a great chieftain, an invincible warrior, the protector and father of your people. Let me decorate you with the garments of chieftainship and the special symbol of your high office." And taking off his own elaborate costume and the mempoc, he reverently placed them upon the youth saying, "Now I give you the garments and the mempoc of a chief. May you live long and wear them worthily."

And now the diabolical and crafty cunning of Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta begins to manifest itself. Having divested himself of his chieftain's garments and the mempoc, the ordinary clothes he wore became in reality a disguise, so that as he passed out of the schloot no one recognized him. The four watchers saw him pass but never dreamed he was the enemy for whom they were searching.

Shortly, however, the young chief, full of joy and pride in the new garments that had been so generously bestowed upon him by the stranger, came marching towards the entrance. The watchers were on alert, but the morning light was dim so that they could not see clearly, and seeing only that the one who was approaching was clothed in the chieftain's garments and wore the mempoc, they hurled their sharp spears into his yielding body so that he fell dead at their feet.

It was not long before they discovered their awful mistake, but the deed was done and there was no undoing it. The crafty cunning of Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta had again stood him in good stead, for he had not only escaped, but had succeeded in getting one of his chief rivals killed.

When the people saw what the treachery of Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta had brought upon them, they were filled with deep sorrow, and loud wailings rent the air. Then their sorrow changed to anger and they decided to call a conference, for the purpose of determining what punishment should be visited upon the wicked chief.

As a result of the conference it was decided to send a force down the river to destroy the camp of Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta, slay him and his sons and kill or disperse his warriors. Two chiefs were appointed to carry out this plan. One of them was Sed-im-seh-li -- the leader of the Coyotes -- one whom friends and foes alike agreed had never allowed his enemies to surprise him. The other was the chief of the McCloud Wintuns, Do-li-ken-til-i-ma -- the silver throated one -- who, in a long career as a warrior chief had never once been successfully challenged. He had always been ready for his enemies and had never failed to defeat them.

These two skillful and practical warriors soon had their forces well organized and when all was ready they started out to punish Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta. When they came to within a bow-shot of his camp, a runner-herald was sent. All was alert and expectant in Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta's camp, for his sentries and outlooks had warned him of the coming of the army of punishment. So they all heard what the herald said. In a loud voice he cried, "Do-li-ken-til-i-ma put these words into my mouth to speak to the cowardly and treacherous Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta. 'I am dressed in my warrior's garments, ready to fight you. Are you dressed in yours? When you came to our camp you played a woman's trick. Now I challenge you to come out and play the part of a man.'"

No sooner had the herald ceased speaking than Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta's sons and warriors rushed forth and with great fury attacked the challenging army. They fought with desperation, for they knew it was a fight to the death, a fight of extermination. It was not long before Do-li-ken-til-i-ma picked out one of Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta's sons for his special attack, while Sed-im-seh-li picked out the other. Though the youths were brave and expert fighters, neither of them could withstand the onslaught of these two chiefs and in a short time both of them fell dead. But nowhere in the battling throng was Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta himself to be seen. So Do-li-ken-til-i-ma placed his foot on the breast of the son he had slain and called in a loud voice to Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta: "Where is the braggart chieftain? How is it he does not appear to fight his foes? I came here to fight you, but you sent your son against me and he now lies dead before me with one of my feet on his breast."

But Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta did not appear. He was afraid and in hiding.

The effect of the death of the two sons of the noted chieftain was so great upon the northern Wintuns that they fought more rigorously than before, while their foes became more and more disheartened and discouraged. It was not long, therefore, before the forces of the south were beaten back with great slaughter and their retreat soon became a disorganized flight.

Then, and not till then, did Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta show himself. Angered at his defeat, infuriated by the taunts of his victorious foes, made reckless by the death of his sons, and hopeless by the seizure of his food supplies, he came out on the bluffs, overlooking the scene of conflict, and there with obscene gestures and disgraceful words, endeavored to make light of his situation. But nothing could undo the pain, chagrin and bitterness he felt. He saw his disorganized and defeated followers fleeing from his triumphant foes, and his cowardly heart prompted him to desert them and seek his own safety. Hence, he fled, and it was later learned that he had gone to the home of his father's ancestors, the Pouiyail Yukis, near Lassen Butte [3].

In the meantime, Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta's defeated warriors were captured and brought back by the victorious forces of Do-li-ken-til-i-ma and Sed-im-sch-li, to their former homes. There they were addressed by the great silver-throated chief in the following words: "O, warriors of Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta, listen to the words of Do-li-ken-til-i-ma. Your great chief has fled, deserted you like the coward he is. You fought for him and tried to capture a territory that was not yours. You have been defeated. Now go back to the homes from which you were stolen in your childhood, or to those places where your own people belong."

Thus the Elpom Wintuns were returned to their homes and also those who came from Dowpom -- the region of the foothills.

Never again did Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta appear as a warrior. He lived in seclusion, but was always spoken of by the Wintuns as a braggart, a coward, a traitor and a murderer. When, finally, he died, his body was brought to the place where he used to live on the flats near Redding, and there directly across from Turtle Bay he was buried in a vast mound raised over him, which remains to this day.

On the other hand, Do-li-ken-til-i-ma lived to a ripe old age, the honored and beloved chief of his people on the McCloud River, or Wena Mame -- the middle river -- sometimes called the Topy Mame -- the much coveted river.

He had one narrow escape from death which came about as follows:

It was soon after the great fight with Sid-di-pou-i-wi-ta that the white men first came in to the country of the Wintuns. A band of soldiers appeared and finding a good camping place at an Indian village named See-di-tom, the place of the pine leaves -- settled there and prepared for a long stay. As they were eager to eat venison they persuaded the Indians to take them hunting and they also wished to see the Indians dance, so the Wintuns prepared a great feast and arranged for a series of dances that should last many days. Many visitors came to the dances and among others a band from the Trinity River. These had had much experience with the white soldiers for the trail used by the latter came to their villages first. Consequently the dancers listened to them when secretly, they solemnly warned: "These soldiers are not your friends. They are deceiving you. They are preparing a trap for you and intend to kill you."

As soon as this warning spread among the dancers they rapidly began to dwindle away, as none of them had brought bows, arrows, spears, battle-axes or sling shots with them, and they were defenseless. Though there were originally over a thousand of them, soon less than sixty were left. When they realized this the soldiers expressed surprise, and some of them followed the Indians when they left camp to find out what had become of the others.

But Do-li-ken-til-i-ma, with forty-five of this warriors, still remained, and in order to capture them, the soldiers invited them to eat dinner with them. When they were all seated at the table some good spirit must have warned the old chief, for, rising from his seat and picking up a bucket, he said he must go to the river and fetch some fresh water. One of the soldiers stealthily followed him, but his suspicions were quieted when he saw that the chief did actually go to the river and dip up a bucket of water from it. But had he watched a few moments longer he would have been much surprised, for, placing the bucket on the ground, Do-li-ken-til-i-ma dived headlong into the river, hid himself under the bank until he felt sure that he was free from observation and then swam to the other side of the river, and escaped to the far-away homes of some of his people, where he lived happily to a ripe and well-beloved old age.

It was well that he thus escaped, for very soon after he left the room the soldiers fired upon his warriors and slew every one. It appeared that some white man had been slain and the soldiers, instead of finding out who had committed the crime, took this wicked and summary vengeance upon all the Indians for a wrong action of which they knew nothing.

Original notes:

The Sacramento River was called by the Wintuns, "Bo-ha Mem," "Big River," or "All Rivers Gathered Into One"; the Little Sacramento, "Nomp-ti-pom Mem," or "River of the West Ground"; the Pitt River, "Pu-e-ta pom Mem," or "River of the East Ground." It was the largest river to the East known to the Wintuns. The McCloud River was known by two names, vis.: "To-pi Mem" or "The Valuable and Much Coveted River," and "Wi-num Mem," or "The Middle River," flowing as it did between the Little Sacramento and the Pitt.

1. George Wharton James was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1858, immigrating to the United States in 1881 and serving the next few years as a Methodist minister. He became enchanted with the southwest and the native people of the area, and wrote numerous books, articles, and pamphlets on the area and the culture of the Indian people. A recognized authority on basketry and weaving, James served as the editor of the California Indian Herald and was active in matters involving Indian rights.

2. The Big Dipper.

3. Lassen Peak, 10,457 ft (3,187 m) high, is officially an active volcano even though the last major eruption occurred in 1914; it was intermittently active until 1921. The peak was a prominent landmark in the mid-1800s for westward travelers to California.


On February 10, 1923, it was with great pleasure I started on a visit to Inyo County for the purpose of visiting the Indian Auxiliaries of the county. Arriving at Big Pine I was met my Mr. John Somerville, one of the leading Indians of the county. We held our meeting at the new auxiliary hall just completed by the Big Pine Auxiliary. A fine audience of young and old listed to my address upon the work of the Indian Board of Co-operation among the Indians throughout the State. All present were well pleased with the reports made as it was my desire to give them a thorough knowledge of the work being done by all the other auxiliaries.

Leaving Big Pine the following morning, accompanied by Mr. Somerville, we stared for Round Valley where another equally interesting crowd awaited us. My short talk on the work and plans of the board was interpreted by Harry Cornwall. After spending a few short hours with these wide awake people I departed with reluctance to go to my next appointment.

But my visit was equally interesting. On my arrival at Bishop I was met by Mr. Harrison Diaz, one of the delegates that represented the Paiute people at Washington last winter. After a good hearty handshake and a friendly chat about our long and tedious stay at the Capital we proceeded to the community church.

Here we sang tribal songs and told of how the board was trying to get better school facilities for the children of the California Indians, hospital care for the aged and indigent, and most important of all, justice in all particulars for the Indians of California. The people were well pleased with the work of the board and said they were behind us to the last man.

Leaving Bishop we proceeded to Independence, where we held a short but interesting meeting with the people of the Indian community there, where they also expressed themselves as well pleased with the work being done for them and for the Indians of the other parts of the State. They said to us: "Go ahead, we are with you heart and soul."

Our next meeting was at Lone Pine, small but interesting many of the people having come for miles around to hear of the work. I told of the untiring efforts of the board to obtain the justice that was our goal. I told of how we had become able to get hundreds of Indian children into public schools and many old and indigent Indians into county hospitals.

After this splendid meeting we proceeded to Big Pine where at 7:30 o'clock I spoke to a public audience of whites and Indians in the First Methodist Church, where the pastor was quite cordial and sympathetic. I told of the work of the board, its objects and aims, the class of its membership, and asked for the co-operation of all present.

I had made the acquaintance of Mr. Ober, one of the good friends of the Indians at Big Pine, and it was through this efforts this meeting was arranged. I must also mention with pleasure that noble woman, Miss Bertha Hall, who assisted me in every way to make the meeting a success. The white people of Big Pine are large-hearted and interested in the work of helping the Indian. Publicity is one of our watchwords and one of the key-notes of our success. The Indians and their friends have long felt the need of awakening the public conscience to the just and reasonable demands of the Indians of our country at large and California in particular.

We believe that America stands for justice and in our appeal to the American public we know that our words will not return to us void.

Our next stop was Benton. Here also we had a good lively meeting. I found the Indian boys and girls getting along nicely; they were all attending the public school. The Indians were very much interested in the reports made.

I had anticipated a trip to the Mono Lake Auxiliary, thence to Bridgeport and Topaz, but on account of the deep snowfall the roads were impassable, and to my sorrow the trip had to be abandoned.

Thus ended another interesting trip. It gave me great pleasure to see how the Indians of this territory are advancing by their own efforts. They have purchased a district motor car for the auxiliary work and built themselves a fine new meeting hall that would be a credit to any community of whites to say nothing about Indians.

Wa-Wa Chaw

Wa-Wa Chaw was born in Valley Center, California in 1883. According to her account, she was given by her Luiseno mother to Miss Mary Duggan of New York City. Miss Duggan had been traveling through the territory at the time of Wa-Wa's birth and had assisted the mother in the delivery. Miss Duggan returned to New York with the baby and raised her with the help of her brother, Dr. Cornelius Duggan. Wa-Wa Chaw's artistic talents took shape at a very early age as she began doing medical sketches for Dr. Duggan. She later painted huge canvases in oil, some of which depicted subjects related to the social problems she observed. Wa-Wa Chaw became an advocate for Indian and feminist causes and was well known for her social writings as well as her art. She married Puerto Rican Manuel Carmonia-Nunez. Nunez was a businessman and very active in the Cigar Worker's Union. After her marriage, Wa-Wa Chaw went by the name of Benita Nunez. Their only known child died in infancy. Wa-Wa Chaw died in New York, in May, 1966, at the age of 83.


Steiner, Stan. Spirit Woman; The Diaries and Paintings of Benita Wa Wa Calachaw

Nunez. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1979.


Far into the stillness of the night,
Creeps the unknown life -- Haunted Brains
Indians, No sleep, Dead no rest
Haunted Brains -- Makes test
On the plain of birth
An unknown star
Indian Earth Mysteries are afar
No sleep -- Dead no rest
Haunted Brains make earthly test
Tears of sheer mingle with fear
Justice will lead in a few years.
Death has no fear
Indian no sleep -- Dead no rest.
Haunted Brains make test.
I come to lead my people,
Over rocky roads and hills.
No sleep -- Dead no rest.
Arise and walk, I will guide thee.
Indians no sleep -- Dead no rest
Haunted Brains make yearly test.
The mysteries of unknown lands.
Indian Dead -- No sleep -- Dead, no rest.
With their unknown plans,
If there is no death,
We will help you in your fight.
Haunted Brains will visit during the night.
Indians, No sleep -- Dead, no rest.
Great Indians spirits are making earthly test.
No sleep -- Dead, no rest.


Gone are the days when Father Junipero Serra [1]
Instructed Indians to build these ways
And to forget their will treatment of gone days,
When treaties were made for Indians that had no say.
Father Junipero said, "Indians, the sun shall shine some day."
The words were molded in the Mission Indian [2] soul.
There Father Junipero was worth more than the pale face gold.
Gone are the days when the Mission Dolores
Was Indian and always thought to help and bind
And to gather all Indians within the Mission boundary line.
When words were sent by pale face birds
A new treaty was signed on an open line.
Cho-o-po-, Tu-Trop, Joaquin,
The land was for a few brass rings.
No-chow-we, Ya-wil-chi-ne Mariano, [3]
A seal was placed to end the race.
Gone are the days when Father Junipero
Said, "Indians, be thou Indians
Tried and build your ways,
For gone are the days.
I cannot always live and say,
Build, my Indians,
Build your high-minded ways. "

1. Father Junipero Serra was a Spanish Franciscan priest and explorer of California where he was the founder of many missions. During his lifetime Junipero Serra established nine missions over a span of 800 miles and converted thousands of Native Americans to Christianity.

2. "Mission Indians" was a general term applied to the California tribes, referring to the fact that many Native Americans were subjugated by Spanish mission officials. Native people were rounded up by soldiers, brought to the missions, and forced to work and accept "instruction."

3. Apparent references to the names of treaty signers.


Down in the deep my spirit will creep
Out of the window into the air
No one knows where.
Deathless and lifeless, sleepless of fears
Indians will keep their spirits near --
Creeping about in the open air
No one knows where.

Down in the deep my spirit will creep,
Fearless of sorrow and fearless of time,
Indians will seek a spirit to help his creed.
Out of the window into the air
No one knows where.
Indian spirit shall share
Deathless and lifeless, sleepless of fear
The noise of my spirit shall speak very clear.
Out of the windows into the air
No one knows where
When far into the darkened night a change in the air
The Indian spirit shall creep out of no where.


Bronze-yellowish Red Indian
The game of human likes are the same
The only difference is the Indian name
The tireless Indian umpire are always the same
The Indian Headmen and Chieftains control the game.

The Indian chiefs dare not limp,
For the Pale-face will take a glimpses [sic].
Into the game that help him Indian to his feet
To learn to walk down city streets.
Heap-Big-Hearts gave him Indian big treats.

Big-Heap-heart has Pale-face chief,
The Indian game is without grief.
Heap-chiefs share the Pale-face leaf,
Friendship is the guiding game.
Indian love spirit likes are the same,
The only difference is the Indian name.
Buffaloes has [sic] left the pastures.
The eagles are without a nest.
The human Buffalo knows the Indian rest,
Chief-Buffalo-Heart knows what game is best.
The Indian Game.

Samuel J. Rice

Samuel J. Rice was a member of the Dieguana tribe of Riverside, California. He served as editor of The Indian, which was the official magazine of the Mission Indian Federation.


Littlefield, Daniel F. and James W. Parins. American Indian and Alaska Native

Newspapers and Periodicals, 1826 -- 1924. (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1984) p. 157-158.


I know not the way that's before me,
The joys or the griefs it may bring;
What clouds are o'erhanging the future,
What promises beyond it may spring.
But there's one my refuge did take
And this is my solace and comfort.
My conventions did plead for me
Of my wants and of my being;
My councils did council for me
To the powers that rule for soccer [succor?].
Fresh courage take, my dear braves,
The dark clouds are ever unfolding
Your light to see before you, and ways.
Yield not to slumber, tho' with toil oppressed,
Yield not to fear for the way is bright.
The summit will ere long be gained
And bright world of joy and peace attained.
Joyful through hope your motto still be
"Human Rights and Home Rule."
What glories will Mission Indian Federation [1] unfold to you.
Be of good mind, and cheer-take courage.

1. The Mission Indian Federation was organized in southern California; its membership comprised both Indians and whites. Founded by Jonathan Tibbets of Riverside, the Federation opposed allotment of reservation lands and in many cases challenged the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It was active in land claims issues.


While the Indian race recognizes the system, its character, as rendered so by the exaltation to power of a majority of unrighteous rulers, through the intrigues and deceptions of wrong-doing, operating through man's weaknesses, deproved [sic] tastes and ideas, yet we, a race, wards, recognize them as the best efforts of poor, fallen humanity at governing our people.

For many, many years the Bureau [1] has allowed them to make the effort and to see the results. But after all the experimenting the results. But after all the experimenting the results are as far from satisfactory today as at any period of its existence. In fact the dissatisfaction is more general and widespread than ever before. Not because there is more oppression and injustice than ever, but because under Indians' arrangement through organizations the eyes of the public are being opened by the increase of knowledge of our unjust affairs.

The various Indian organizations which have been established from time to time have exhibited the average ability of the people represented by them to govern their organizations. They showed that despotic organizations have existed. The fact that they have been tolerated by the masses of despotism proved that as a people they were not capable of establishing and supporting a better Indian organization for the uplift of the community and for the betterment of the government as a whole, though many Indian individuals were always doubtless far in advance of the average standing.

As we (Indian race) gain intelligence and knowledge, as we compare the conditions of the country today with the conditions of humanity at any former period, we find a marked difference in the sentiments of the public concerning Indian life and affairs.

The increase of knowledge in every direction awakens a feeling of self-respect, to honor the government and the governed, and a realization of their natural and unalienable rights which they will not long permit in the name of Justice to be ignored or despised. Now then let us learn our lesson of Indian life and the platforms of their organizations from the Indians themselves.

"Through a wide variety of channels, including newspapers, magazines and lectures, the true story of the Indian is being told in order that the general public may have reliable information on which to base constructive action. Many organizations have elected delegates to act with the council of the league. It is urged that additional groups be represented in order that the legislative programs of the league many have as substantial a backing as possible." -- Indian Welfare League. [2]

The right channel is the Indian himself. He knows best the enlightenment you should have to help him.

1. The Bureau of Indian Affairs.

2. The Indian Welfare League was organized in 1922 by Marah Ellis Ryan and other white reformers. It accused the Bureau of Indian Affairs of neglecting its duty and called for reform of the system.


A recent article in the American Indian Advocate, published by American Indian Order (The Teepee), with Rev. Red Fox as editor in chief, commented that the Mission Indian Federation [1] and its head officers, to the writer's judgement, were not carrying out the right policy for the poor Mission Indians in behalf of human progress.

Let human reason do her best to trace known facts to be reasonable and competent causes, giving due credit to the efforts of them in every case. But back of all the intricate machinery of the policies are the hands of the people of the Mission Indian Federation.

It is a fact, then, that man has capacity for appreciating things of what he knows and not of what he does not knows and not of what he does not know, as in this ease. Let us appreciate a struggle of humanity for God's ruling.

1. The Mission Indian Federation was organized in southern California; its membership comprised both Indians and whites. Founded by Jonathan Tibbets of Riverside, the Federation opposed allotment of reservation lands and in many cases challenged the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It was active in land claims issues.


The preparations of the Council grounds at Tibbets' Grove at Prospect Avenue began one week ahead of the convention. Some improvements will be made over previous conventions.

Mr. Tibbet [1], on his arrival, immediately proceeded to put things in shape, as he is very anxious for some big features. He has received a good many letters from influential people, both Indian and white friends from far and near, that they will attend the convention if nothing prevents them.

Once more the people of the Federation will concentrate in one body and mind -- armed in the holy cause for justice. They will come from far and near. These few months they have been organized they have established themselves with determination to solve their problems with the aid of their good Government through sentiments of the public at large.

1. Founder of the Mission Indian Federation, Tibbets worked in Indian reform.


Co-operation is the watchword and safety of the democracy. We must co-operate to help our must Government to solve -- eliminate, many of its perplexing problems which are confronting us in this land of liberty today. Only through justice can these be adjusted, and by the sentiments of the governed.

As the Indian race gains intelligence and knowledge of the Government -- as we compare the conditions of the country today with the conditions of humanity at any former period, we find a marked difference in the sentiments of the public concerning Indian life and affairs.

The increase of knowledge in every direction awakens a feeling of self respect, to honor the Government and the governed, and a realization of competence is at hand, where the Indian race is competent to have privileges as citizens.

America has not always played the game square with the Indians. The history of the California Indian is a long story, known in detail to but few. But those few, whenever they speak of it, become indignant, so it must be a history that is not particularly credited to the "white conquerors


By Samuel J. Rice

The children of nature, ever faithful to the traditions of the Great Republic of ours-the first Americans in America.

Our Supreme Idea-Divine Right of Liberty in Man. It means all that the Constitution of the people, organizing for justice-for liberty, and for happiness meant. It is their ambition to accomplish good for their coming young generation that stirs them on to their goal of justice.


Your committee in approaching the consideration of this subject were deeply impressed with its importance. They saw a policy adopted by the Indian commissioners deeply affecting the present and future prosperity of the state. Regardless of the extraordinary circumstances which impelled the wave of population to this state, they have undertaken to assign to the Indian tribes a considerable portion of the richest of "our mineral land"(?). Regardless of the topographical character of our state which presents an extensive surface of the most valuable grazing land of our earth, but with comparative limited quantity of land fully adapted to agriculture purposes those gentlemen have undertaken to assign no inconsiderable portion of the latter, including property of the Indian tribes, wholly incapable by habit or taste of appreciating its value.

To take any portion of the country west of the Sierra Nevada for the home of the wild and generally hostile Indians would be so manifestly unwise and impolitic that your committee can not think that anything more is necessary than thus to present it to public consideration. But the policy which suits California has been one long established and to which we claim an undoubted right. That policy is to remove all Indian tribes beyond the limits of the state in which they are found, with all practicable dispatch.

Summing up and adopting of the resultions read:

Resolved: As the sense of the Senate and Assembly of the State of California, that the policy pursued by the Federal government towards the Indian tribes in this state, is wholly and radically wrong and should be rejected.

Resolved, That our Senators in Congress be intrusted to oppose the confirmation of any and all treaties with the Indians of the State of California, granting to Indians an exclusive right to occupy any of the public lands in the state.

Editor's Note -- These are only a few of the resolutions extracted from many more, but they show emphatic influence upon the law-makers in Washington. Ever since the men of erudition in Washington have eschewed the pleadings of the Indians up to this day.

The recent statement made by Hon. J. E. Raker before the Congressional committee on Indian Affairs on the hearings, is as follows:

The impression given out by the assistant commissioner of the Indian Affairs was that the Indian delegates from California, in their plea for their people, had shown themselves ungrateful. It was shown by the assistant commissioner (without any opportunity on the part of the Indians to explain their position) that they had all been to government schools and that their statements concerning the needs of the California Indians were not fair to the Department of the Interior, and represent gross unappreciation. It should be remembered that the California Indian delegates were not representing the Indian population of California, and that in the limited time allotted to them to present their case, they were continuously interrupted by questions. It is a fact that can not be successfully disputed that many of the California Indians have not received educational or other advantages from the Federal government.

The assistant commissioner in the hearing referred to, under date of March 23, 1920, page 77 said: "Yes, sir; we feel that the California Indians have not been treated fairly by the government; that they ought to have the opportunity to go the Court of Claims to have that claim tried out with the understanding that if either side is not satisfied with the judgement of the Court of Claims they may appeal to the Supreme Court."

This is only an instance whereby the public at large can build or form its intelligent opinion regarding the Indian problem. To help this cause along is to illuminate the question of Indian problems in a square deal.


The invasion of Culture at the present age is necesary for the growing Indian Generation to become subject to compulsion to attain education.

The promise of the Indian race lies in the education of its children, morally, mentally and industrially. To be of permanent value the schools must be provided to equip the children to assume as adults the responsibilities in equalizing themseleves [sic] with the standard competent requirements of Americanism, thus leading them to become useful citizens. These enviroments have become the milestones marking Indian progress.

It must be understood, I am not commenting to intimate that Indians of recent gener-gratuity [sic] from charitable resources and must be depenable [sic]. But, truly, a majority of them today, are fifty per cent better qualified for citizenship than the foreigners, some who are subject to calls of their native country in time of war.

Step out of imbecility -- illiterate people are the slaves of the intelligent, and must be competed [sic] for the betterment of community and country.

There is a wonderful contrast between man as we now see him degraded by his disadvantageous life and the loyal man. All through the ambition that man possesses for learning, and to be judged by masses of people by his out-standing character and accomplishments.

Many Indians, who have absolved themselves from govermental supervision, have taken up their homes in the ordinary life of white people, usually enroll their children in schools with those of his white neighbors. Thus visualize the Indian Bureau's years of endeavor, therefore indicating the approach of the day for the race to be fully absorbed into the body politics.

Educate and seek your worth. Seek your worth through learning and religion. The religion is the torch of civilization and liberty. Its influence for good in society is recognized by the influential people, even though they for the most part have looked at it through the various glasses of conflicting creeds, which, while upholding religion grieveously misrepresent is teachings.


The Commissioner advocates extension of medical service, social uplift. Commissioner Burke [1] calls attention to health problems affecting Indians and advocates an extensive policy of health, education and social welfare work. "As the line of progress advances, so do all people seek more and more to advance themselves through appeals to al agencies that my offer protection and contribute to their welfare." The Indian should have the best medical attention, which has been denied them; and so we hope the Indian will get better medical attention, especially as to the birth of Indian children. This should be and they have the right to be well born. In the press, Dr. Oliver W. Holmes [2] points out that more than a half time to begin the training of a child is a hundred years before its birth. The best protection that one can have against diseases is inherited vital energy, manifesting itself in healthy organic cells that will repond to every favoring force of habit, environment, education and training that may encompass them, while at the same time offering stern resistance to all inimical influences and factors that beset them.

The present administration of Indian affairs, says the Associated Press, is seeking to discourage a perfunctionary response to duty, and to foster a real, live, purposeful policy and determination of restoring to a race its prestine [sic] health and virility by means of the application of the laws of preventive medicine, operating through education, social uplift, and constructive science, as applied to nutrition, hygiene, and the relations of all the agencies under control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations of Indians, either physically or mentally. The Indian service intends to bring about gradual and promote permanent improvement in the physical, mental, and moral nature of every Indian. (The health of the Indian is serious, and Indians should be rendering great service in a human way, and following out their purposes.)

1. Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

2. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was named after his father who was a poet, essayist, novelist, and professor of anatomy. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Holmes, Jr. for the Supreme Court of the United States. After 29 years of service on the bench, Justice Holmes retired at the age of 90, making him the oldest justice to have served on the Supreme Court of the United States.


Lost and bewildered is the Indian. He cannot comprehend why all this change. Silently and stoically to himself he asks the questions:

Has the Great Spirit forgotten me?

Has the Medicine Man lost all his charm?

Is there no way out into that happy hunting ground I have sacrificed and yearned for these many dark days and years?

Must I lose all that I possess and no longer follow in the trail of my father?

On the reservation I followed the rules. See, I have changed my garments, I have cut my hair, and what is there for me?

I am as a child -- helpless! As a blind-man, I grope and know not whither I go!

I thought this land belonging to the Great Spirit? Are the white people Great Spirits? I am afraid there is something wrong in me; and if you can see - lead me.

Maybe my child, here, can push the curtain aside and make a way out from the plight I am in. Take him, teach him as you would your own child. Then when I am gone he will like you, for he will be with you.


The day is calm, serene, and the sky is just as blue, the sunlight just as warm. Something of alacrity amongst the song birds is evident. The strongest, the conclusive evidence is most clearly seen-the birds are telling each other of the arrival of spring. Spring of happiness and warmth.

Life's inspiration is stirred in the souls of the living chieftains, captains and the headmen. They sing with the birds to greet the dawn-to bless the night. Then, sometimes by day, sometimes by dusk into the night, the hosts meet drawn together by a force as irresistible, mysterious as magnetism - finally the story of the great journey is in their counciling tongues. In fact, once more of the advent of the great convention.

The inspiration of the thought of their convention renews the face of the earth. It brings them home to the plain realities of life, all through the intimacy with nature. Were it that nature ruled them as it rules the birds of the air, they would flourish and seek not their conventions for protection and justice. But what of the forces of law upon the hand that crushes?

America preserves history, if there be history. Representatives of history tell us this in the volume of history on any principle or human probability. Politicians, how long did the shadow of a destitute race on which your conventions and treaties had not smiled languish on the plains of this country? As inquirers, we have no methods open to us whereby we can come to an understanding with our Government representatives. The light of the Mission Indian Federation inspires them to seek methods in righting the wrongs. This new hope for inspiration makes them bestow their confidence in their organization.

Many have worked against their program the perverted instincts of some designing group of financial men and individuals, who, for purely selfish purposes, are not only opposing, but are plotting to overthrow the policies of the Mission Indian Federation for one that is promising them piratical rights, justice and liberty.

The free man of us, whose rights had been rooted in the soil of their native land, not becomes a tennant [sic], a serf of the usurpers of our rights and seem to be completely at the mercy of masters and ever active landlords, who gratefully join together in the policy of robbing and exploiting the Indian people of their scant property.


The Indian, native American citizen, but not a citizen by congressional measure is not a voter, is incompetent under the education he has received through government aid.

Chief supervisor of education in Indian service asserts - that over 80 per cent of those who enter the high schools never get through - that over 3 per cent of those who graduate from high school ever enter a college or university. Whether there is [sic] provisions for this, but under most appalling restrictions the Indian has lived in his home he has had no chance to progress materially and financially. Therefore unable to finance for education of his children, who desires higher education. Under such circumstances in many instances the Indian student abondons his high [school] studies to go out to make a living for himself and old dependable [dependent] folks. Otherwise the Indian youth is ambitious, for the fact that, the best part of his education and success is credited to his own personal efforts.

Just how competent they have become in their affairs and in affairs of their government, can best be determined through their various organizations throughout the country. As the government officials and public sentiments have expressed, "The only salavation [sic] of the Indian has is through education."

The majority have come to this. But the party that says the Indian is incompetent, is not giving itself honorable credited, but implicating itself for waste of public money.

Education, and the laudable ambition which accompanied it enterprise and a desire to achieve distinction and a competenacy, aided by the record, and accomplishment in educational line, in daily life have stimulated and brightened the vision of the modern Indian, and his perceptive power, and put each upon the alert to discover something for the good and convenience of the -- their societies - communities, and their amicable government.

With books came a more general education - finally common schools. Schools and colleges do not increase human capacity, but they do make mental exercise more general, and hence help to develop the capacity already possessed by individuals. As knowledge become more general and studies more common the generations possessing these have a decided advantage over previous generations; not only in that there are now a thousand thinkers to one formerly to sharpen, and stimulate each other with suggestions, but also in that each of the later generations has through books the combined experience of the past (erratic life) in addition to his own has visions.

If then, we have proven that the mental capacity of today is not greater than that of the past generation, but probably less, how shall we account for it. Who is responsible?

We trust we shall be able to show this reasonably and in harmony with general government.

This knowledge and discoveries which are now proving so valuable in the efforts of the Indian through organizations, and which are considered proof that this is the "Bra[i]n Age," are really very modern and competency.

Author: .
American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center